Kessler Foundation Researchers Report BICAMS Can Predict Performance of Everyday Life Activities in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

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by Patricia Silva, PhD |

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Kessler Foundation researchers recently reported that the Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) is able to predict the performance of normal daily activities. According to the researchers, the BICAMS is a promising tool to predict actual functional performance in participants with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

MS is a progressive neurodegenerative autoimmune disorder that results from the attack to the central nervous system by the body’s own immune system, causing motor deficits, cognitive impairment and irreversible neurological disability. Proper cognitive assessment tools are, therefore, important for the evaluation of MS patients and disease management.

The BICAMS is a short, valid, cost-effective clinical assessment that can be administered in settings where there are barriers to extensive neuropsychological testing. BICAMS comprises three tests: the Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), California Verbal Learning Test-II, and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised.

In the study entitled “Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) and performance of everyday life tasks“, recently published in Multiple Sclerosis Journal, Yael Goverover, PhD, and colleagues, examined whether BICAMS could predict performance of daily activities using Actual RealityTM (AR) in patients with MS.

A total of 41 MS patients and 32 healthy controls performed the BICAMS and an AR task. All study participants were asked to access the internet to complete the purchase an airplane ticket or cookies, and were submitted to the BICAMS evaluation and questionnaires to assess quality of life (QOL), affect symptomatology and prior internet experience.

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The results revealed that, “Performance on the BICAMS was worse among participants with MS,” noted Dr. Goverover in a news release, “and poor performance on BICAMS correlated with poor performance of AR tasks, which require more complex cognitive skills. This indicates that BICAMS may be useful for predicting performance on everyday activities, as well as for assessing cognitive abilities. This finding has implications for clinicians who care for individuals with MS in a broad range of settings, especially those with limited access to neuropsychological consultation.”

According to the authors, the study provides further understanding and support for the relationship between cognitive skills and everyday life performance. Using the internet to purchase a commodity is an actual everyday life task; it is not different from shopping at a supermarket or using a travel agent, but rather a different way to perform these everyday life functions.

The team concluded that patients with MS exhibit greater difficulties in performing everyday life tasks in comparison to healthy individuals, and that the BICAMS can be considered a valuable cognitive screening tool for physicians to assess the actual functional performance in MS patients.

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